Hackernoon logoUltimate Survival Guide for Conferences | Web Summit by@rach_jacobs

Ultimate Survival Guide for Conferences | Web Summit

Rachel Jacobs Hacker Noon profile picture

@rach_jacobsRachel Jacobs

WS17 Quick Links

Before The Conference

Fail to plan, and plan to fail!
  • Pitch- You will be speaking to a lot of people, so make sure you know what you want them to remember about you. Focus on what sets you apart and try to keep it fun — people always remember banter over facts. Also, bring throat lozenges or mints — you’ll be doing a lot of talking.
  • App – Make sure you download the app beforehand! You will need it when registering (either at the venue or the airport). Registration is mandatory for all attendees.
  • Hygiene — I’d advise some antibacterial hand gel as you’ll be shaking hands with a lot of people, who will also be in contact with a lot of people. Cold/flu season is in the air, and you want to stay in tip top health. Medication in Lisbon is very expensive, so it might be a good idea to bring some cold/flu tablets and tissues just in case.
  • Shoes — For those who didn’t go to Web Summit last year, you probably aren’t prepared for how big the actual venue is. Whatever you’re imagining, double it! So if there is one thing you do, make sure you wear comfortable shoes.
  • Agenda — Make sure you pick out the talks you want attend, booths you want to visit and outline what you hope to achieve. Downloading the app will make it easier to manage your schedule. The app has a great map of the venue, making it easier to move between talks. Try to get to the event early, so you can get your bearings beforehand.
  • Meetings — Arrange 1-on-1 meetings via the app with the key people you want to speak to. As Web Summit has an amazing Night Summit, why not arrange to go for dinner, or meet them at one of the night events. Alternatively, you could arrange breakfast/lunch at some of Lisbon’s local cafes.
  • Cards — You will need lots of business cards! Make sure you jot down brief bullet points on the back of each card (location, interests, and areas for collaboration). And keep a small notebook with you, so you can keep track of your conversations.
  • Nourishment — Bring water, or a refillable water bottle, and snacks. It’ll be a long day, and even though lots of booths have food, it’s usually sugar filled treats which will leave you feeling lethargic, and the food trucks always have long queues.
  • Weather — The average temperature is around 18°C (63°F), but can drop to about 11°C (52°F) in the evening (bring a jacket). During WS17, it’s set to be quite sunny, so I’d suggest bringing some SPF. Early 20s is borderline tropical (especially for those of us coming from Ireland), so make sure you pack the right clothes.
  • Goals — Outline your goals. Maybe you want to increase your network, or build partnerships or perhaps you’re looking for an investor. Whatever your motive is, do your homework. If you want to speak to specific people, find out a bit about them beforehand.
  • Chargers — Make sure you have at least one backup portable charger, or spare battery. And for those travelling from outside Europe, don’t forget your adaptor!

During The Conference

Be ready for queues!
  • Registration — Register for the event at the airport, this will save you a lot of time at the venue! Airport registration: 4th — 10am to 11pm, 5th — 7am to 11pm, 6th — 7am to 11pm, 7th — 7am to 3pm. Venue registration: 6th — 12pm to 8pm, 7th — 8am to 5pm, 8th — 8am to 5pm, 9th — 8am to 3pm.
  • Transport — There are lots of cost effective ways to get to and from the venue, and the Web Summit team have done an amazing job at outlining all your options. It might be useful to know that the venue is called Fil & Altice Arena, and was previously known at MEO Arena.
  • Queues — There are queues for everything, particularly for the bathroom and food trucks. Be warned!
  • Luggage – No suitcases or large bags are allowed in the venue, only laptop bags or smaller. There are cloakrooms, but you will have to queue, so I’d suggest only bring extra luggage if absolutely necessary.
  • SWAG — There will be lots of super cool SWAG, so try to keep some space in your suitcase, and bring a backpack. Once it’s full, it’s time to walk away from the free t-shirts.
  • WiFi — There will be WiFi at the venue, however it will be shared with thousands of other people, so don’t expect 5* coverage. For those that need WiFi, I suggest arranging a cost-effective data bundle with your network provider.
  • Food — There are some amazing food trucks between 2 of the main expo halls, however be prepared for massive queues. And compared to the local eateries, the prices are a bit pricey.
  • Talks — Give yourself a bit of time before talks to figure out conference hall locations. As I mentioned before, the venue is HUGE and it’s easy to get lost. Make sure you plan the talks you want to see, and get there at least 15–20 minutes early to get a decent seat.
  • Mingle — Conferences are not all about business. Some of the best connections are made at the Night Summit: 6th — Bairro Alto & Principal Real. 7th — Pink Street and Cais do Sodre. 8th — LX Factory. Make the most of the app, connect with people, and sign up for one of the many after hours events. Or why not arrange an evening with some of your fellow attendees, join me here.
  • Social — Make sure you’re involved in the conversations on social media. Use #websummit or #websummit2017 for your tweets.
  • Co-working — There are lots of co-working spaces for those who need to get some work done: Co-work Lisboa, Liberdade 221, Entrepreneurs Break, Product Tank and Village Underground.
  • Network — Conferences are all about networking. It might be intimidating at first, but you will quickly get into the swing of things. Take the time to listen to people, and find out ifyou can be of help to them. If you can put them in contact with someone relevant, make sure you do so. Avoid ‘salesy’ pitches, instead connect with people on a personal level.

After The Conference

Don’t forget to nurture your new contacts!
  • Follow-Up — One of the biggest mistakes people make when attending events is forgetting to follow up. If you don’t take anything from the event, then it was probably a waste of time. Take the time to follow up with those that you would like to pursue, either a personal or professional relationship with. Send a personalised email, something like:
Hey XXX,
It was great to meet you at Web Summit. I hope you had fun, and got a chance to check out XXX restaurant. How was your travel back to XXX?
I’d love to catch up with you when you have a chance, to discuss how we can collaborate on ideas.
Let me know when you’re free.

Quick Tips for Visiting Lisbon

Praça do Comércio (Central square)

With an abundance of attractions, beautiful beaches, museums, and buildings covered in gorgeous tiles, Lisbon is a feast for the eyes. I’ve compiled a list of some of my top must see places, useful tips and ideas for your stay in Lisbon.

  • Fado — Fado music is a must see for anyone visiting Lisbon. My top suggestion for a great Fado bar is A Tasca do Chico in Bairro Alto. Alfama is also full of amazing Fado singers, quaint cafes and stunning rooftop views.
  • Food — The dish of the day (pratos do dia) is usually good value for money, especially for those on a budget. Try to avoid anywhere with multilingual menus, as prices are significantly higher. Tapas style food is very common, and at affordable prices, it’s a great option for group meals. Seafood is a huge part of Lisbon’s cuisine, due to its close proximity to the sea. Portugal’s national dish, Bacalhau, a salted cod used in lots of local recipes and stews.
  • Restaurants — Most traditional restaurants close between 3–8, so be prepared to eat late. Waiters often bring you food that you didn’t order, don’t be afraid to send it back, otherwise you’ll be charged for it. Check out Time Out Market in Cais do Sodre.
  • Beaches — All of Lisbon’s coastline beaches are connected via Lisbon-Cascais railway. Praia Sao Pedro and Praia de Carcavelos (return tickets are less than €3) are considered 2 of the nicest local beaches. If you take this line, make sure you check out Cascais (free bikes available) and Estoril.
  • Transport — Lisbon’s efficient public transportation, CARRIS (buses, trams and funiculars), is very affordable. If you’re looking to travel via CARRIS and the Metro, make sure you get Viva Viagem card (€6 for 24-hour card) or LisboaCard (€18.50 for 24-hour card).
  • Beware — Pickpockets are on the lookout, particularly at night. Avoid dark alleyways, and stay with a group in well-lit areas. You can expect to be approached several times by people selling drugs, especially at some of the main tourist attractions. Just ignore them!
  • Costs — For help with planning costs, check out this guide from The Savvy Backpacker. For anyone on a budget, this list from Budget Traveller should come in handy.
  • Tours — Check out some of these free walking tours: Lisbon Chill-Out Free Tour, Pancho Free Tours, New Europe Free Tours and Discover Walks
  • Rooftops — Park Bar is a chill rooftop bar and restaurant with unbelievable views of Lisbon, which can only be accessed via a car park — trust me, this is a must! Another amazing find is Largo de Graca. What better way to enjoy the view of red rooftops, than with some live music at sunset! To save yourself a steep climb, and take the Funicular da Bica.
  • Cafés — If visiting cafés is your thing, then make sure you check out LX Factory (Night Summit location on 8th November). What was once dominated by industrial factories, is now full of cafés, shops, and incredible underground art.
  • Attractions — My top must see attractions are: Monastery Of Jerónimos in Belém and São Jorge Castle in central Lisbon. There are too many to mention, for more read The Savvy Backpacker’s guide .
  • Ferries — For a coastal view of Lisbon, there are a few low cost commuter ferries. I’d recommend the Cais do Sodré ferry, which passes under the suspension bridge and the Cristo Rei statue. For great views of Alfama and Baixa, hop on the ferry at Terreiro do Paço
  • Tram 28 — Another must for first timers in Lisbon, Tram 28 passes through picture-perfect neighbourhoods like Baixa, Graça, Alfama, Estrela and gets you to São Jorge Castle. I’d suggest you get a 24-hour pass, and start at Martim Moniz station, otherwise you’ll be standing for over an hour, sandwiched between people.
  • Bridge — Spanning the Tagus river, the 25 de Abril Bridge is a dead ringer for the infamous San Francisco landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the most photographed places in Lisbon, the 25 de Abril Bridge connects Lisbon to Almada. Best views are from the main square, Praça do Comércio, which overlooks the Tagus river. Make sure you visit Santa Justa street, and take the lift to Igreja do Carmo church ruins.


Lisbon is brimming with so much culture, and while it’s impossible to see everything, here is a brief overview of some of the main areas.

  • Bairro Alto has some of the oldest buildings in the city, and has a fantastic variety of amazing clubs, fado singers, cafes and restaurants.
  • Chiado is great for those that want to do a bit of shopping.
  • Alfama is the oldest neighbourhood, traditionally for fishermen, filled with winding streets, cafes, restaurants, fado music, Santa Clara flea market (Tuesday & Sunday) and the stunning São Jorge Castle.
  • Baixa is the main business area of Lisbon, located downtown and was completely rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake.
  • Belém is home to the famous Pastéis de Belém bakery, that serves the best Pastel de nata (Portuguese egg tart), but be prepared for queues! While you’re there, check out Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos. Museu Berardo is the best free contemporary and modern art museum. Give yourself half a day to explore Belém.
  • Sintra — A 40-minute train ride from Lisbon (€2.40 return ticket), UNESCO World Heritage city Sintra is a treasure. Grab a tuk-tuk, or brave the steep 1.5km hike to Palacio de la Pena. Surrounded by Serra de Sintra national park, you can visit the ancient ruins of Castelo dos Mouros. You’ll need to set aside a full day for Sintra.
  • Cascais — Once a coastal fishing town, Cascais is now a popular escape for wealthy visitors and Portugal’s very own royal family. If sun and sandy beaches is your thing, then the 30-minute train ride is well worth it, if you plan on spending the day.
  • Obidos — Once owned by the Queen of Portugal, Obidos is the perfect place for picturesque towns, and a relaxing day trip. You won’t need more than half a day to enjoy this walled town, but make sure you factor in one-hour train ride each way.
Mic Drop!

So, there you have it! A comprehensive ‘Ultimate Guide to Lisbon’ for anyone attending Web Summit this year. For the solo travellers reading this, make sure you link up with fellow attendees, this is the beauty of Web Summit! You’re more than welcome to join us, register here and let me know what you’re most interested in doing.


Join Hacker Noon

Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.